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Questions with Difficult Answers

John 4:27-30
Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no-one asked, "What do you want?" or "Why are you talking with her?" Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way towards him. (NIV)

Sometimes we do not ask a question because we fear getting an answer we cannot handle. The disciples were confused enough that their Master had demanded that they walk through Samaria (John 4:4), and then that they had no option other than to buy food at the local 'unclean' market (John 4:8). So when they returned and found Jesus alone with a Samaritan woman they could not think of any good reason why He was talking with her. They were out of their depth and kept their questions to themselves.

The disciples had not heard Jesus admit to being the Christ (Messiah), nor did they understand His wish to be with a sinful person. And the woman could hardly believe her ears. Rushing back to the town (in such a hurry that she forgot to take her water pot), she was amazed that Jesus knew all about her personal history of past relationships and had to tell everyone about the stranger she met at the well. The way she asked her question (in the Greek text) expected a negative response: "This couldn't be the Messiah, could it?" The woman was out of her depth: if Jesus was God's Saviour then why would He want to talk to her? Surely the holy One from God would only meet pure bred holy people; and she knew she was not like that.

Jesus continues to be a great surprise to people who think themselves holy, and those who know they are not. In fact, nobody is truly righteous (Romans 3:10) for everybody is a sinner (Romans 3:23). As Jesus said in Luke 5:32: "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus continues to call sinners. And so we will find the Lord working in the darkest corners of the world where, humanly, there is no hope. We also find Him at work in the cities among the powerful or the violent, and even in the hearts of hypocritical religious people who want to be saved. When it comes to God, everybody is out of their depth ... we cannot understand how God works but we can trust that He knows all about everything ... and that He loves us so much that He wants to find us and save us. So when your friends or colleagues despair, feeling trapped with no good way out - tell them about Jesus, who already knows how to deliver them.

All seeing God. Thank You that even when I do not know what questions to ask, You already know the answers. Forgive me for doubting Your love, and Your power to speak into my life and use me for Your glory. Please help me to be bold in recommending Jesus to my friends, and to keep trusting You myself, even though I often do not know how You are working Your purposes out. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams